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The Destruction of Anti-Communism in Yugoslavia
Draza Mihajlovic, an officer in the Army of Royal Yugoslavia who had studied methods of irregular warfare, became t first leader of Yugoslav military resistance against the invading Germans and Italians in 1941. He was supported by the Allies, described in America and Britain as "The Balkan Eagle", 'The Robin Hood of Serbia' and 'The White Hope of the Allies'. In 1942 General Dwight D. Eisenhower, then Allied Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, sent the Yugoslav hero a telegram of congratulation on his valiant campaign of military resistance. General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces, awarded the Croix de Guerre to his fellow freedom fighter against 'the common enemy'. At the time the Wrhrmacht, commanded in North Africa by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, was less than 30 miles from Alexandria. Mihailovic's guerrilla campaign slowed the flow of reinforcements and war material to Rommel: He was showed with thanks by Britain's military leaders, and presented with a purse of gold on behalf of King George VI.
After the Teheran Conference between Roosewelt, Churchil and Stalin in November 1943 Mihailovic's star began to wane. The wider course of the war influenced the perceptions of the leaders of the two democracies, Roosevelt and Churchill. But a critical factor, never appreciated at the time, was the role played by Communist agents in the British intelligence services. Eventually, the western allies were persuaded to back the Communist Partisans of Josip Broz Tito', and to effectively terminate their support for the much larger military formations commanded by Mihailovic. Subsequent research has cast doubt upon the 'facts' that were gathered and reported to the British and American authorities, including the supposedly objective basis that, as Churchill famously expressed it, 'Tito's partisans are killing more Germans'.
Much less well known are the lengths to which the allies were prepared to go to ensure that Tito should consolidate his victory in Yugoslavia at the end of the war. Two episodes stand out. One was the heavy bombardment of several cities where support for Mihailovic's cause was strongest. Belgrade was truck by allied air forces for three consecutive days over Orthodox Easter ( 7th April 1945). The Montenegrian towns of Niksic, Podgorica and Danilovrad were distroyed on St. George's Day (6. May 1945). Fifty American B-29;S flattened Leskovac in Serbia.
The other episode, until recently rumoured but almost entirely undocumented, was the had-over to Tito of 200, 000 Croat troops, in intact military formations. Allegedly these troops were killed or sent on 'death marches' by the Partisans. But after being handed over to Tito in the second week of May 1945 what actually happened? n fact most were enlisted as Partisans - as numerous units that served the Croat Fascist regime of Ante Pavelic previously had been - and they were then directed against Mihailovic's forces in Bosnia and Serbia. This was a task for which, because of the genocidal anti-Serb nature of Croatian Fascism, they were ideally suited.
This immediately altered the balance of power in Yugoslavia. It meant that Tito's weaker forces could outfight the Royalists; and that Tito could dispense with what would otherwise have been his necessary dependence on military assistance from Stalin. In turn, the suppression of Serbian anti=Nazi patriotism - which had been the backbone of resistance against Hitler and Mussolini - allowed the creation of a new post-war Communist myth of fraternity and brotherhood.
Realising his difficult position in the aftermath of the agreements reached at Teheran, Mihailovic in August 1944 made the following prophetic statement:
'More than three years ago I took up arms to fight for democracy against Dictatorship in the form of Nazism and Fascism. In fighting for this cause there were ten occasions on which I almost lost my life. If I must die in fighting against a new form of Dictatorship, I shall die bitter because I have been deserted by those who profess to believe in democracy, but satisfied that I myself have fought bravely and honestly and have refused o compromise my cause.'
Titoism' was an ideology of such profound mendacity that when it eventually collapsed in Yugoslavia that unhappy country was subjected once again to a barbarous civil war, rooted in the ethnic nationalism that had been inflamed and suppressed during the Second World War.
26th April 2004
Circulated for the consideration of the Chiefs of Staff
24th May, 1944.
WAR CABINET - JOINT PLANNING STAFF
Yugoslavia - Supplies for the Serbs
Report by the Joint Planning Staff
In accordance with instructions, we have, in consultation with the Special Operations Executive, examined a minute from the Foreign Secretary on the subject of increasing the size of partisan groups in Serbia owing allegiance to Tito, and the Prime Minister's reply.
2. As illustrated in the sketch map at Appendix, Tito's partisan groups cover most of the area of Yugoslavia except Serbia where the influence of Mihailovitch is still predominant. In Serbia, however, Tito has a steadily increasing following. His Serbian Command, in three main groups, number about 11,000, while his Macedonian Command with a strength of about 2,500 is located in small pockets as shown on the map. These bodies are already active and supplies of arms on a limited scale have already started. They are well placed to interfere with German activities in the Balkans, particularly as regards communications and mineral supplies.
Potential Value of Serbian Effort
3. Two strategically important railways, Belgrade-Nis-Skolje and Belgrade-Kraljevo-Skoplje, run through Serbian territory. The disruption of these railways would be of great strategic value to us under any conditions. In the event of a German withdrawal from Greece and Bulgaria, the importance of these lines of communication would be greatly increased.
4. The best quality chrome and about three-quarters of present German supplies of the metal come from the Skoplje area and Northern Greece. Should resistance in this area be such as to deprive the Germans of these supplies, it would have the very gravest effects on their war production.
C.O.S. (44) 155th Meeting(0)
C.O.S. (44) 412(0)
mid May 1994
Location of Mihailovic and his Chetnics
1. Mihailovic is at present in Dobij in Bosnia with 80,000 to 100,000 of his men. Other Chetnics are located in eastern Bosnia, in Sangiaccato, in Slovenia, in Istra, and in the Gorizia region.
2. Toward to end of April, 3000 Chetnics fought above Fiume and at Kocevie. Others occupied Gorizia where they were well received by the population. According to orders issued by Mihailovic's Supreme Command, these men were oging to cross the Isonzo river and seek refuge in Italy. Tito's bands and troops, however reached the Isonzo at that time and blocked the trasit. The tow fractions started to fight each other until General Breyberg wedged his New Zealaders between them and enabled the Chetnics to take refuge across the Isonzo in territory completely under Allied jurisdiction.
3. At the present, about 15,000 Chetnics are located around Forli and Cesena; they are disarmed but not prisoners. Amog them is the Priest Giuic, who gought in Dalmatia above Knin.
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